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Turner: Advocacy for vulnerable elderly needed

Media statement
For immediate release
Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Turner: Advocacy for vulnerable elderly needed

UnitedFuture families spokesperson Judy Turner says elder abuse and neglect will continue and increase as baby boomers age, unless we resource elder support agencies and arm the elderly with their own voice.

Mrs Turner’s comments follow the release today of a Families Commission report, “Elder abuse and neglect – exploration of risk and protective factors”.

This first-hand account of elder abuse and neglect describes what factors increase the risk of abuse and neglect, within a family home or an institution.

“Here are stories of people trapped in difficult places with people they love and trusted, sometimes with no-one to tell, sometimes too ashamed to tell anyone.

“We need an independent agent, whether that be a commissioner or advocate, who can intervene to guide elderly through frightening situations.

“I commend the Families Commission for this report. It comes at a pertinent time with the Government’s announcement of a new funding model for community organisations.

“Age Concern should be included in this arrangement so to improve its early intervention strategies. This report substantiates the work Age Concern does and justifies the funding they require.

“Furthermore, the report has obvious implications for those auditing age care services to ensure that staffing levels are adequate so that elderly clients are not subject to neglect due to unacceptably low staff client ratios.

“Situations of abuse and neglect of elderly shouldn’t happen. But they do and elderly people need advocates just as much as children, families or people with disabilities do. It’s time for an independent voice for elderly,” said Mrs Turner.

ENDS

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